Book Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Death Sworn 
Death Sworn #1
Leah Cypess
Published: March 4, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
A bit wary at first because my first Leah Cypess book ended in a DNF, I wasn’t sure if I would like Death Sworn. But there are always second chances, second time-arounds, and it was already predetermined that I would read it this week that I just went right in and jumped.

I will admit it right out that it was slow-paced. I mean, I liked the way it started, not at the very beginning in Ilena’s Renegai village and her subsequent fall from the pedestal, but at that part where the significant beginning to her real story mattered. The notion of being slow-paced comes as I read about Ilena’s reason to be in the Assassins’ Caves and whether or not she could find the killer of her predecessors. I thought it would only be focused on that aspect, the other details of an evil Empire suppressing everyone just a background to the drama unfolding in the caves. I settled for a boring afternoon. Yet, there was a nagging feeling that there was something that more than meets the reader’s eyes. There’s more to it, I thought, than an obvious mystery.

There was. I absolutely didn’t rightly guess who the real person behind all that happened. There were hints perhaps but I ignored it since I’ve been caught up between Sorin and Ilena’s dancing around each other. Ahem. And although the story was slow-paced I didn’t complain that much because of how things unraveled and how rich the characters are. With how the book ended…I will read the next book.

Side note:

I would have balked at the I love you statement made by Ilena but her follow-up more than make up for it. But I am not stupid made me applaud her. Sensible girl. One of the few I’ve encountered in YA. She could wish all she want that the boy she had fallen in love with, after deluding herself that she did not care, was different and not what she initially thought he was but she was right not to trust wholly in him despite his seeming return of feelings - of sorts.
Ayanami Faerudo

Book Haul (40)

Book Haul is a feature post which showcases some of the books that I got.

A Magic Dark and Bright
The Asylum Saga #1
Jenny Adams Perinovic
Genre: YA Paranormal
She meant to help a ghost...not unleash a curse.

Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since the night her brother died.

The ghost seems to have disappeared from the woods surrounding Asylum, Pennsylvania—that is, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old MacAllister House next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch. And she definitely can’t ignore the connection between his arrival and the Woman in White’s return.

Then Amelia learns that the Woman in White is a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, Amelia decides to do whatever it takes to help the Woman in White find peace--and Charlie agrees to help her.

But when Amelia’s classmates start to drown in the Susquehanna River, one right after another, rumors swirl as people begin to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As Charlie and Amelia uncover the dark history of Asylum, they realize they may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.

Book Blitz: Memory’s Wake Trilogy by Selina Fenech


The Memory’s Wake Trilogy 
Selina Fenech 
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Memory's Wake
Book #1
Lost in a world full of monstrous fairies, a troubled sixteen year old has to find out who she is and why her memories were stolen before she is found by those who want her dead.

She takes the name “Memory” and knows she has just one goal – to find her way home, wherever that is. But this land is strange. No technology to be seen, and iron is banned, thanks to a pact the humans have with the magical creatures who share their pre-industrial era world. In her t-shirt and torn jeans, Memory knows she’s different, even before she performs impossible magic.

Haunted by her past, chased by a dragon, wanted by the king and stalked by the strange, handsome savage that seems to know her, everyone is after Memory, and she suspects it’s not just for her eye-catching outfit. Her forgotten past holds dangerous secrets that will challenge everything she believes and risk the lives of everyone she loves.

Memory’s Wake contains over 45 illustrations by the author and artist.

Hope's Reign
Book #2
Everything is slipping away from Memory. The bond of friendship between her, Eloryn, Roen, and Will, that was formed while running for their lives is tearing. In a world that doesn’t feel like home, with a mind filled with nothing but questions, Memory struggles to be true to herself… whoever that is. When her past self starts haunting her, she knows her sanity could be the next thing she will lose.

Providence Unveiled
Book #3
A wicked plot dating back to the very beginning of Avall is coming to its end, and Memory is a vital part. In order to save her friends, Memory will break all the rules. With all worlds put at risk by her actions, she will have to step up and make the greatest sacrifice to repair Avall and make the world something better than before.

About the Author

Born in 1981 to Australian and Maltese parents, Selina lives in Australia with her husband, her baby girl, an unnamed cat, and a lorikeet who's far too clever. 

During her life Selina has found ancient Roman treasure, survived cancer, had knights joust at her wedding, been mugged for doughnuts, made a living as an artist, eaten every bizarre and wonderful food put in front of her, and now enjoys writing novels.

Ayanami Faerudo

Waiting on Wednesday: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This meme spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

Ink and Bone
The Great Library #1
Rachel Caine
Expected publication: July 7, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…
The Great Library of Alexandria is legendary. A shame that it didn't survive. WHY DID YOU BURN IT  JULIUS CAESAR/AURELIAN/POPE THEOPILIUS (or whoever was responsible)?  
Ayanami Faerudo

Book Blitz: The Ghost of You by Amanda Burckhard {Excerpt + Giveaway}


The Ghost of You
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Swoon Romance
Emmy has everything she’s ever wanted: a hot boyfriend she adores, great friends, a promising future, and even a well-connected family. But one night rips it all away.

A car accident shatters her world, claiming the lives of her twin brother and her best friend. In the wake of the accident, her friends drift away, her family falls apart, and her boyfriend cheats.

The grief is more than she can handle, so she finds escape at the bottom of a bottle of painkillers. Taking the pills makes her brother alive again, if only in her head. Seeing and talking to her brother as if he were still alive is the only thing that keeps her going. Until Logan King moves to town.

Logan sees past the mask of pristine popularity she wears in public and he’s the only one who can tell she hasn’t moved on. His uncanny ability to read her forces her to open up and she starts to fall for him, no matter how unwilling she is to admit it. But Emmy isn’t the only one keeping secrets and when a close brush with death sparks events that bring everything to light, Emmy will have to decide what’s more important: learning how to forgive and move on, or holding onto the pills and the ghost of her past.
The back of my eyes pulsed in time with the pounding in my head. My dark sunglasses didn’t block out enough of the light to stop it from aggravating my hangover. At least the nausea from earlier had passed. I groaned, turning my head toward Skye in the driver’s seat. She fared a little better than me, having had a restful night’s sleep. Nightmares had plagued my dreams all night. I blamed the beer.

We rounded the corner to my street and Skye cocked her head at me. “I thought you said your mom would be at work?”

I stared at the white Volvo in the driveway next to my red Mini Cooper. “She’s supposed to be.” Her shift at the hospital started an hour ago. “You think I’m busted?” Cherry on top of my freaking sundae.

Skye pointed to a Sheriff’s patrol car a little ways down the street. “I don’t know, but that’s not a good sign.”

I threw my head back against the headrest. “Shit! If Uncle Jim’s here I’m toast!” He’d take one look at me and know exactly what I spent my night doing.

She chuckled in a pitying, sarcastic way. “Good luck with that. So I’m guessing that movie later is a no if you and Derek are grounded.” She looked around for my brother’s canary yellow Mustang. “Where is Derek? He usually beats you home.”

Maybe Uncle Jim busted the party after I left. Maybe he found Derek there and he ratted me out. Jerk. So why wasn’t his car in the driveway? “Who knows?”

“Text me if they don’t take your phone away,” she shouted as I got out of the car.

She pulled out of the driveway and down the street. I took my sweet time getting to the door. I was most likely going to be grounded for the next month, so might as well enjoy my last few seconds of freedom. Hopefully it wouldn’t last more than a month or I’d miss Homecoming week. Aw, man, and the opening football game against our rivals. At least I’d still have softball practice.

When I reached the door, I ran my hands through my disheveled hair in a last ditch effort to conceal my previous night’s activities. I walked in, keeping the sunglasses on to cover my puffy eyes.

Uncle Jim’s voice echoed into the entry. “Emmy?”

There was no point trying to quietly shut the door behind me. Everyone sat in the living room just past the entryway. I couldn’t sneak past them to the stairs without being seen if my life depended on it. Taking one last breath to prepare myself for the upcoming punishment, I set my bag down and walked to the living room. What I found was not the stern and disappointed looks I expected.

Mom sat on the edge of the couch. Her blotchy face and swollen eyes told me she had been crying. Hard. Dad sat next to her with his arm around her, staring out the window with a dazed expression. My uncle stood in his Sheriff uniform leaning against the mantle on the wall and my cousin, Brayden, sat in the loveseat with his head in his hands, his eyes fixed on the beige carpeting.

What was Brayden doing here? He was supposed to be taking the SAT’s. He was a senior now and he already scored poorly twice. Today’s test was the last one he could take before he applied to college. He wouldn’t miss it. They couldn’t be over already.

I froze at the edge of the living room and slowly pulled off my sunglasses, a choking feeling constricting my lungs like a python. “What’s going on?”

No one spoke.

All eyes averted from mine.

Finally, my uncle cleared his throat. “Why don’t you take a seat?” His sunken face and steady tone felt like a rock falling into my stomach.

I swallowed the panic rising in my throat. “Why do I have to sit?”

Brayden took a deep breath and walked over to me. “Come on,” he said and led me to the loveseat to sit next to him. The room was dead quiet as I studied everyone’s grave faces. Something tickled the back of my brain. It tried to tell me what I already knew. I pushed it away, refusing to believe my paranoia.

“You guys are freaking me out!” I choked on the words. My breathing became shallow and forced.

Brayden put his hand on my arm.

Tears welled up in my eyes, stinging like tiny nettles. I turned to Brayden. “Where’s Derek?”

He didn’t answer, but the look in his eyes spoke volumes.

The tears spilled over my eyes and tremors racked my body. I turned my hysteria onto my parents. “Where is he!”

The question sent my mother into a fit of sobs.

Terror wrapped its bony fingers around my heart and squeezed, expelling the air from my lungs. Please, God. Don’t say it. Nonono. This wasn’t happening. Brayden looked me straight in the eye, a constellation of tears glistening on his lashes.

“Derek was in an accident.
About the Author

Amanda Burckhard grew up exploring bat caves and hunting for dinosaur bones in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When she wasn’t crossing paths with mountain lions, she was making up stories and devouring books at the library. Although, she still does that.

Amanda loves to travel and cross out things on her adrenaline packed bucket list. Some of the things she's been able to cross out include see an active volcano erupt, ride a gondola in Venice, and pet a tiger.

She currently lives in North Sioux City, South Dakota and works as a microbiologist by day. Some of her obsessions include comic book movies, hot chocolate, sushi, sunshine, and Doctor Who.

Ayanami Faerudo
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